March 22, 2018 – “Audio Muffles and Computer Musical Chairs”

Hello, everyone!

For all the students (and teachers) who may come upon  this blog, I sincerely wish your Spring Break was a chance to relax from the stresses of a semester. But, now the the break is over and time to resume course as the end of the semester approaches. Before detailing this week’s events, it is apparent that this entry is a little late and I apologize for that. As the semester’s end approaches, this may happen again. With that disclaimer taken care of, here are the recollections of March 21, 2018 at the archives.

The day began with a simple objective in mind: try to go through as much of the Audio CDs in the Howard Eves Audio Collection as possible. As I entered the doorway, it was obvious that there were going to be some complications in that process. For one, all the computers in the office were already occupied which left the only option of using the computer in the study room. After using aforementioned room to log in, the first twenty minutes consisted of trying to listen to the CDs on that computer.

For whatever reason, it did not which audio program I used, the CD would not play. I asked for help from Chris Saclolo, but we could not figure it out. The only real option left was to wait until a computer became available to me. While waiting, I decided to use this time to be productive and give an inventory check of the collection. Curiously, I discovered that the sleeves for discs three and thirteen actually contained two discs each. Were these discs just copies of those respective recordings? The answer to at least one of them would resolved later in the day.

Fortunately, a computer became unoccupied and this miniature version of musical chairs ended with my occupancy of that computer. With a working audio player, the first disc was actually disc two and the contents were a recording of Dr. Eves’ classroom lecture regarding “Systems of Numerals.” Still on the subject of the history of Mathematics, Dr. Eves explored the system of how societies learned to keep count by using children as an example, the literary example of the cyclops checking his sheep in Homer’s Odyssey, and how those systems were affected in cultures in North America, South America, and West Africa. He also took to explain the how the numerating system in the banks of England were changed in the early nineteenth century due to a fire. After talking about how the human extremities (fingers) were critical in developing in the base power scale (from one to ten), he concluded the class with the announcement of the next class would speak of “How to Classify Numeral Systems.”

At this point, I should take the time to state that audio quality is not the best. In fact I would say that a lot of the recordings sound like Dr. Eves is mumbling (much like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons). Yet, I was able to understand enough to get the main points of what he was speaking of. Unfortunately, disc three took these problem and amplified them.

I started to listen to disc three, I actually began with the second copy disc three. The duration was only sixteen minutes long, I figured that this was actually a second part of the lecture and that Dr. Eves had gone over his normal lecture time. In the recording, Dr. Eves explained the Simple Grouping System with two sets of symbols, how the Chinese and Japanese numerating system stemmed from the use bamboo as a writing tool (as opposed to papyrus), then finished with a tale of how he and his twin brother tried to make papyrus from cattails and how they jumped off the roof of their childhood home with homemade parachutes. I then switched over to the main disc and the reason for the second disc became abundantly clear.

The second the play button was clicked, the audio quality became worse than what I had heard yet. The quality was so choppy that Dr. Eves’ speaking was unintelligible and the recording remained like this for the first ten minutes. However, when I skipped segments the quality became better. It was through this process, I discovered that everything that was on the disc I had previously listened to was in the middle of this disc. So, while battling the choppy audio, I tried to line up the time stops in my notes. Unfortunately, I did not finish listening to the rest of the disc before my time at the archives came to a close for the day.

It is clear now that next week’s first task is to finish listening to disc three (at least attempt to), then move on to disc four and five. With twenty-eight discs in total, this blog will be revolving around the contents of those discs and the experiences extracting that information for sometime. Keep that in mind as the weekend approaches, but I sincerely wish everyone well and look forward to next week. Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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